Thai king death: Thou­sands queue to pay re­spects at palace

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Large queues have formed at the Grand Palace in the Thai cap­i­tal as mourn­ers pay their re­spects to King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej, who died on Thurs­day.

Thou­sands, dressed in black, have been wait­ing to en­ter to sign a book of con­do­lences at the palace in cen­tral Bangkok.

Free buses were laid on to trans­port mourn­ers from ru­ral ar­eas.

A re­gent will stand in un­til the late king’s son, Crown Prince Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn, ac­cedes to the throne.

Prince Va­ji­ra­longkorn has asked for a delay while he grieves for his fa­ther, who at 88 was the world’s longestreign­ing monarch.

Speak­ing on state tele­vi­sion late on Fri­day, Deputy PM Wis­sanu Krea- ngam said the head of Thai­land’s privy coun­cil - cur­rently for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Prem Tin­su­lanonda - would be re­gent.

“The sit­u­a­tion will not be used for long,” Mr Wis­sanu said.

The crown prince and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn were among those who paid their re­spects at the palace.

On Fri­day, the king’s body was trans­ported in a con­voy to the Tem­ple of the Emer­ald Bud­dha in the Grand Palace from the hospi­tal where he died. Cre­ma­tion is not ex­pected for sev­eral months.

Thou­sands of mourn­ers lined the streets, many weep­ing, as the con­voy passed. Mil­lions more watched on TV.

Flags are to fly at half­mast for the next 30 days and of­fi­cial mourn- ing will last a year.

Peo­ple have been asked to wear black, and avoid “joy­ful events” dur­ing this pe­riod.

King Bhu­mi­bol earned the de­vo­tion of Thais for his ef­forts to help the ru­ral poor and was also seen as a sta­bil­is­ing fig­ure in a coun­try often wracked by po­lit­i­cal tur­moil. Thai­land re­mains un­der mil­i­tary rule fol­low­ing a coup in 2014.

But crit­ics ar­gued he had en­dorsed mil­i­tary takeovers and some­times failed to speak out against hu­man rights abuses.

The crown prince, who is 64, spends much of his time over­seas and is much less well known to Thais.

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